By Vashti Williamson, Solicitor | 14 October 2020 – For Mental Health Awareness Day
For as long as I can remember I have kept myself busy. I love to be busy, whether that’s working or socialising. I just can’t sit in silence and I don’t really enjoy being on my own. For as long as I can remember, that’s just been me.
I don’t think I really thought much about my own mental health until a few years ago when my life patterns became unmanageable in so many ways. I realised that I needed to start prioritising myself a bit more. As a result, I have been trying to do that step by step ever since.
I think that circumstances have taught me that taking some time for yourself can help you to be more productive overall. Whether that’s going to an exercise class, listening to a podcast before bed, popping some music on in the morning, going for a run, doing some yoga, or taking time in the evening to cook a nice healthy meal. It can all be beneficial.
However, what I’ve also realised is that not every day (or week) will work in that way. You may find that there are long periods of time where taking a planned break just won’t help, an exercise class is the last thing you feel like doing and only a bar of chocolate (or three) will fix you. On those days, even taking 5 minutes out may feel like too much to think about.
In those high-pressured times, planning some sort of break or activity may just add to the pressure of everything else. So, on days like that, I find that it’s worth doing the small things that you don’t have to really plan for to mix up your day like a short walk at lunch, a phone call with a friend, reading a book before bed or even just putting the radio on when you’re working from home to feel connected in some way. It’s all progress.
I have also found that communication is so important. Starting a conversation with someone about something that may be bothering you is a great way to reduce some of the burden. But, talking isn’t for everyone and if you really don’t want to talk it’s always worth writing things down. The words always seem less scary once you’ve got them out in some form or another!
I think the reality is that self-care is wholly subjective and means something different to everyone else. However, starting the process of what works for you can be so rewarding in the end.
There’s a poem that has really stuck with me over the last year or so, it is written by an amazing poet called Alex Elle who posts all her poems online. There is no title, but it is all about self-care, strength, and empowerment.
you’ve been through a lot, and you’re still here.
your heart has been broken and you’re still whole.
you’ve felt moments of defeat, and you’re still rising.
you’ve faced rejection head on, and you still matter.
your worth has been questioned, and you’re still valued.
adversity hasn’t stopped you.
you’re learning and becoming daily.
this is standing in your power.
About the Author:
Vashti Williamson works as a Solicitor in the Hugh James Trusts and Estates Administration team. She joined the firm from JCP Solicitors and has been working in the legal sector for 7 years. Vashti started her legal career at Hugh James in 2013 within the Trust and Estates Administration Team and moved to Bristol in 2015 to complete her Legal Practice Course. After qualifying as a Solicitor in 2019, Vashti was keen to return to Hugh James and began working with us again In June.